Time to time, I feel the need to pour my thoughts onto the page, to empty the space within. I feel that if I kept them in, the thoughts start to absorb me, my ability to make clear decisions get diminished.
I am 27, I am going to become 28 in May, so only 2 years till I am 30.. It feels like a big age, 30. Like I should have another mindset, I can’t continue living with the flow, I need to have plan As and Bs. “Birth date doesn’t mean anything, you are the age you feel..” Although this and derivatives of this sentence echo in my ears, I think that society shapes the age we feel. The age of studying “He went back to uni at the age of 50, can you believe?!”, the age of marriage “She is 40 and still alone, I don’t think it will happen”, the age to have your first kid, the age to have your last kid, the age to start acting mature, the age to have your first sex, the age to buy a flat and settle down… These are just a few that pop up in my mind. And sometimes I question whether we are really free when our lives are shaped so much by the society and we crack under the pressure sometimes.
Recently, I took some decisions based on my well-being and happiness. Then, I realized that making a decision alone was not enough, I needed to convince my mind to stretch out those boundaries set by the society and really be OK to want to reach out for happiness. And I want to be strong enough not to change my mind on this..: I decided to LEAVE RESEARCH! Yes, not just academia, research altogether! After years of studying and taking up a postdoctoral position in one of the best places for microbiology, I have made up my mind. We will part ways in a friendly way, I still got 11 months to work with a bacterium I will always find fascinating and write about, discuss about, but I know that I can do greater things outside of the lab. It’s not my niche.. I truly enjoy singing along to the songs on the radio in my P2 room where I am lucky to work alone (:D) but I mean, the overall researcher profile.. it is just not me. I already knew that though, as a result of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test I did while applying for jobs after my PhD. I have an ESFJ-type character for which the career options didn’t include ‘a scientist’ profile, ooopppss.
In my free time (wrong expression! i believe that you can always free some time to do something that you really enjoy doing) nowadays, I am managing the social media platforms of the Young Researchers in Life Sciences Federation that I joined back in October and I am loving what I do. I feel more energetic and I find myself with constant desire to do something more, forcing my brain for creativity. I think my future possibilities started to take shape in my mind but I was still holding onto what the society would see more of a standard pathway as a possibility.. Applying to an internal postdoctoral fellowship at Institut Pasteur was what I put in my mind when I saw the opportunity a month after I arrived, and now the applications are open again. I didn’t apply last year because the position should start within 8 months after the results would be announced and it would have been useless for me as I had a 2 years contract. However, I really considered applying during this round, I even asked for bacterial strains and plasmids from my old lab to get some preliminary results and propose a project. Yesterday, I called my friend to ask whether I could go over and talk to her about this decision to apply or not, and two hours later I sent her a Whatsapp message to tell her that actually there is no need to meet, I know that I shouldn’t apply. This energy I feel while helping out to organize a conference.. Why postpone feeling it 2 more years? What about the happiness I get from writing blog posts? What about realizing that I could possibly sit in front of the computer in an office all day, as long as I had a nice chat during lunch break and good coffee afterwards? I have some replies but they are preformed answers stirred by the society pressure and they are not good enough for me.
‘So that I can stay in France two more years, and that makes 4 years of work in total, if I get another position, that will make more than 5 years, then I can apply for citizenship.’
‘Salary each month, it is hard to live in Paris!’
‘I can have more savings.’
NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
I think, for me it is time to take some risks in the pursuit of a happier life even if that means being jobless until I figure out what I am gonna be great at and get the position I want. Plus, I know someone who deserves that fellowship to reach her dreams and I hope that I am increasing her chances of getting it slightly by not applying 🙂 🙂
P.S. This came up in my playlist, what a coincidence xD